Facebook, Friends, and my Third Soldier Son

Okay, this is a bit of a stretch but I’ve decided that by calling my youngest son my “third” soldier, even though he is only 13 and not even thinking about the army yet…I can get away with writing this here on a blog about being a soldier’s mother.

My youngest son and I have been having an ongoing discussion about his opening a Facebook account. He says that 80% of his friends have one; I’m filled with concern for all the people who could contact him. I think 13 is too young…he thinks I’m being silly. I’m sure I’m over-reacting, sure that I’ll give in because he does know the dangers. A few years ago, an Israeli teenager met a girl online. They arranged to meet. She was Palestinian; he was Israeli. It was romantic, it was forbidden, it was also a trap. He was murdered by her boyfriend when he went to meet her at a pre-arranged rendezvous.

For now, it’s a point of negotiation.

“Will you let me be one of your friends?” I ask, wanting to confirm that I will be among his contacts and can keep an eye on him remotely.

He hedges, “You’ll always be my mother.”

And then his final comment – why he should have Facebook…as if his joining it would preclude my having my own account and contacts. “You have Twitter. I want my own.”

There is an innocence there that still touches my heart and calls to me to protect and be on guard. If only we could keep them like this.

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